My eating has been pretty lousy this week and I have been avoiding the scale and feeling rather detached. Actually, I think that is kind of the point of eating poorly, for me: to feel detached. I have stuff going on that is stressful and difficult, and it seems when I am eating regular, healthy, non-sugary/non-junky foods, I can focus better on life and issues. But then, when you're clear-headed and *present* you can't easily detach. You have to feel everything and it can get really painful at times. Do you know what I mean? I discovered this very clearly when I was on Medifast and getting down into the 180's-170's and it hit me very hard that without the distraction and diversion of *food*, I had to face everything. I had to feel it all. I had to think about the issues. I cried, I got angry, and then because I was clear-headed, I was able to take concrete steps to solve the problems. It was a huge breakthrough. But it has been a tough change to stick with consistently. When things gets hard, I am pretty solid to a point. When they start getting emotionally painful and exhausting, I still want to escape through food. Because just like when I weighed 278 pounds, a mouthful of sugar turns everything into sweetness, buries a lot of bitter and sour emotions, takes the sharpness away and makes me forget for awhile. Like a drug.
My drug used to be to get in the car, drive to the store, and fill my cart with Red Baron French bread pizzas, Ranch dressing, Coke, ice cream, Oreos, candy bars, potato chips, cheese, donuts, and hot dogs and come home and eat them all evening and all the next day so that there was a good solid 24-hour (or more) period where 90% of my time was pleasant and enjoyable. Of course, I was adept at ignoring things like heartburn, reflux, acne, joint pain, and a painfully stuffed stomach. Now, my drug seems to be similar type eating but on a much smaller scale: a slice of pizza, a diet Coke, a scoop of ice cream. Then the next day a sugar free coffee, a bowl of chips, a slice of cheese, a cookie. I get the same effect as I used to get, but on a shorter term... maybe 15 minutes of relief, not a whole day's worth. And now, I am unable to ignore the physical symptoms of fullness, sugar fog, and joint pain. I hate it but it is hard to give up completely. Like a drug.
The times I do this now are few and far between. I hate the way I feel, so I snap out of it a lot faster. I go for weeks or months before I eat another cookie or scoop of ice cream or bowl of chips. But I do remember a time when I was going much longer and thought I was 'done' with this behavior forever. So I jolt myself out of it, throw out any remaining junk, and go back to eating what makes me feel healthiest. And then, I am forced to feel the feelings and cope with whatever drove me to try and escape in the first place.
I wish I'd learned long ago how to cope with negative emotions and difficulties without 'substance abuse.' I use that term because I believe it is all the same illness, whether one uses alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription painkillers, marijuana, or food. It's all one thing in different varieties. It's been a lot of work finding healthy coping alternatives, but I am getting there. Most of the time I make better choices. Lately I've been leaning on increased exercise and activity to help me cope. When my PT was denied (and the appeal was also denied), I felt hopeless. Slowly, as each missed session went by, my pain level started creeping back up again. My mobility became limited again. And since I hurt, it was easier to sit and eat something to cut the stress than it was to go do some yard work. Not an excuse. Just the truth. It is easier to check out with food than it is to deal with pain, physical and emotional.
I didn't really feel like blogging and I am not sure whether I am going to continue much longer. I came to write because I think it helps me to type out my thoughts and feelings and sort out what is going on in my head, and decide what I really want to do about it. I am tired of stress, but I am also tired of feeling detached. And unless I go back to full-blown bingeing or stop this junk-abuse behavior altogether, I am stuck in the limbo of both.